Teen Vegans

Article by Diet Bites

More Teenagers on Vegetarian Diets

It appears that more and more teens are switching to the vegan way of life.

This can be a very healthy eating pattern but requires advanced knowledge of the foods that must be incorporated into the diet in order to avoid serious health consequences.

Protein Necessary for Good Health

For example, our bodies require protein in order to function.

Protein comes in many forms such as meats, beans, eggs and peanut butter. A vegetarian knows which foods to substitute for meats and dairy products.

And it's not only about proteins - but 'complete proteins'. These provide all of the essential amino acids and are often referred to as 'high quality proteins'.

Examples include milk, eggs, cheese, fish and seafood, poultry, beef, pork, lamb and other animal meats.

Meal Planning Tips for Vegetarians & Vegans

1. One mistake that vegans tend to make is substituting cheese for animal proteins and other animal by-products such as chicken or beef broths. Because cheese is steep in fatty acid content it can work to clog arteries over time, presenting cholesterol issues - and this can increase risk for heart-related diseases. Therefore, do enjoy your cheese - but do such in moderation.

2. Almost all recipes which contain animal proteins can be adapted to vegetarian-friendly ingredients. Examples: Tacos with ground beef can be vegan-ized by skipping the ground beef and using drained seasoned black or pinto beans instead. Rather than meat-based lasagna, vegetables work wonderfully well. Rather than beef or turkey burger patties, use the veggie patties instead.

3. Be sure to add both color and texture to your meal plate. Yellow squash, orange carrots and red beets create a rainbow of eye-catching colors.

4. Different methods of cooking will make the flavor of the foods different. A boiled carrot tastes nothing like one cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven. Speaking of which - one of our favorite meals is oven-roasted root vegetables. Delicious!

5. Think outside of the box. For example - vegetables aren't considered very often for breakfast, yet if you can eat eggs in your vegan diet, adding sauteed vegetables such as mushrooms, onion and bell pepper - you'll have a healthy, nutritious omelet.

The same type of thinking outside of the box applies to lunch and dinner. Fruits aren't generally part of the main meal but adding them to other foods increases flavor and nutritional values. For example, adding slices of strawberries or dried fruits to spinach greens.

Necessary Nutrients for Teen Vegans

Proteins, Essential Nutrients

Protein is necessary for growth an maintenance within the human body. Good sources for vegans include: soy products such as tofu, tempeh, veggie burger patties, milk, eggs, [for lacto-ovo vegetarians], nut butters, whole nuts, edible seeds, peas, and beans.

Iron Needs

Necessary for transporting oxygen in the blood. Good food sources include fortified cereals, kidney beans, peas, lentils, spinach, turnip greens, molasses, whole grain foods such as bread and many dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, golden and dark raisins.

Calcium Needs

Builds bones and teeth and is essential in maintaining the strength of bones. Good sources for vegetarians include: calcium-fortified soymilk - as well as other calcium-fortified beverages like juices and milk. Also, fortified cereals, tofu, collard, turnip and mustard greens, and bok choy.

Zinc Needs

Supports the immune system and is necessary for several biochemical reactions within the human body. Food sources which make excellent choices for vegans include: fortified cereals, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and several varieties of beans.

Vitamin B-12

Excellent sources include: milk products, eggs, fortified cereal, soymilk, veggie burgers, nutritional yeast and other foods which have been fortified with Vitamin B-12 amid processing.

There are many different types of vegetarians.

Some eat no meat or anything that contains a meat by product. Another type of vegetarian also omits dairy products from their diet. Yet another eats meats and dairy products, but only chicken and fish for the meats.

As you can see, it requires some self-education because again, a vegetarian diet can come with serious health risks if one doesn't properly substitute the necessary daily nutrient requirements.

Although I am a semi-vegetarian (I eat only fish and chicken) most vegetarians do not recognize this as a vegetarian lifestyle.

I tend to agree with that opinion but nonetheless, moving away from fatty meats is definitely a step towards a healthier, longer life.

And it saves a few cow's lives too! No wonder they're so mad these days.... 3 Elements of Healthy Dieting

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